At Least 8 Killed in Kabul Mortar Shell Attack Ahead of Mike Pompeo’s Meeting With Taliban

KABUL, Afghanistan — About 23 mortar shells slammed into completely different components of the Afghan capital on Saturday, killing a minimum of eight folks and wounding 31 others, an official stated.

The shells had been fired from two automobiles, Inside Ministry spokesperson Tariq Arian stated. Nobody took fast duty for the early morning assault that additionally focused the luxurious Wazir Akbar Khan space of Kabul, which homes diplomatic missions.

At the very least one rocket landed within the Iranian Embassy compound. In a tweet, Iran’s embassy in Kabul in confirmed {that a} rocket got here down within the courtyard of the embassy compound and “various shrapnel” hit the embassy’s important constructing, inflicting some harm to home windows and gear, with out specifying the gear.

“Fortuitously the incident has no casualty and all of the employees are in good well being,” stated the tweet.

The Islamic State affiliate in Afghanistan claimed the rocket barrage, based on SITE Intelligence Group. The IS group has carried out related assaults prior to now and claimed duty for latest assaults in Kabul together with two devastating assaults on instructional establishments that killed greater than 50 folks, lots of them college students.

In addition to rebel teams, there are a number of closely armed warlords with militias dwelling in Kabul with long-standing animosities in opposition to one another.

Pakistan, whose Prime Minister Imran Khan visited on Tuesday Kabul for the primary time since he got here to workplace, condemned the assault and warned “you will need to be vigilant in opposition to the spoilers who’re working to undermine the peace efforts.” He didn’t determine “the spoilers.”

The mortar barrage comes as representatives of the Afghan authorities and the Taliban continued to carry talks in Qatar, although progress has been sluggish. U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was in Doha on Saturday to press for a discount in violence in his conferences with each the Taliban and authorities negotiating groups. The Taliban have largely ignored such earlier requests.

Pompeo advised members of the federal government’s staff, on the outset of their assembly, that America will “sit on the aspect and assist the place we will” within the peace negotiations.

Pompeo additionally met with the Taliban’s co-founder, Mulllah Abdul Ghani Baradar.

There are lots of throughout the Afghan authorities who need February’s U.S.-Taliban peace deal scrapped. President-elect Joe Biden has beforehand advocated a small, intelligence based mostly pressure in Afghanistan to concentrate on counter-terrorism.

In the meantime, Abdullah Abdullah, head of the federal government’s Excessive Council for Reconciliation, condemned the assault in a tweet calling it a “cowardly” act. The council oversees the federal government’s negotiating staff on the desk with the Taliban in Doha.

Hours earlier than the assault rattled Kabul, a bomb hooked up to a automobile killed one safety personnel and wounded three others in an japanese neighborhood of the capital, stated Kabul police spokesperson Ferdaws Faramarz.

Violence in Afghanistan has spiked in latest months with more and more horrific assaults typically claimed by the Islamic State group affiliate. The Taliban have additionally continued close to every day assaults on beleaguered Afghan authorities forces.

There have been growing requires a cease-fire if peace talks are to proceed. The Taliban have been steadfast of their refusal, demanding that any truce be a part of the negotiations.


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